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Pruning Broadleaf Evergreens

One of the advantages of such broadleaf evergreens as rhododendron, holly, pieris and boxwood is that they require little, if any, pruning, except to remove dead or damaged branches or branches that detract from the shape of the plant. The most important practice is the removal of spent flowers. If this is done, plants will produce more growth, and more flowers will form for the next year. A prime example of this type of pruning is on rhododendrons. Simply snap out the old flower cluster being careful not to damage the developing young shoots immediately below the flowers.

Indiscriminately cutting off the fading flowers on all broadleaf plants will prevent the development of some beautiful fruit. Mahonia is a good example. If the flowers are cut off, no fruit will develop.

This article was prepared by students and professors at Michigan State University Extension, Home Horticulture.

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